Friday, June 09, 2006
In a move that has stunned the Upton Park faithful, Alan Pardew has brought back controversial midfielder Lee Bowyer from Newcastle for a reported fee of £750,000.
Pardew has defended his decision, saying, "In some quarters it will be regarded as a controversial signing because Lee has had disciplinary problems in the past - both on and off the pitch. But he has matured as a player and as a person. My scouts tell me he was Newcastle's best player in the last three months of the season. I played with Lee at Charlton and I know the outstanding ability he has. Up to now he hasn't achieved what he should have achieved. But he still has time - and I am hoping that he will realise his full potential at West Ham."
Bowyer, a self-confessed West Ham fan, was originally signed by Glenn Roeder in January 2003 when the club was attempting to stave off relegation. As history relates, the club went down and Bowyer was quickly unloaded after an unsuccessful six months with the Londoners.
Pardew said, "It is well known that he was carrying an ankle injury the last time he played for West Ham, but the lad and his family have always been Hammers fans and he wanted to help the club - who were then bottom of the league - out of their predicament."
It's also difficult to look past Bowyer's dubious history, but Pardew reckons he's a changed man. "All those incidents that Lee has been involved with down the years have taught him lessons and everyone deserves another chance. I will not tolerate any other incidents, he now needs to have a clean bill of health. We had a fantastic disciplinary record last season. Lee needs to understand they are the standards we have set - and I expect him to abide by them."
Bowyer himself says, "I am desperate to do well for West Ham. I loved my time at Newcastle but this is my Club. I didn't play well last time. I had a bad ankle injury and kept playing on it which was to nobody's benefit. I see this as unfinished business - I want to show the Hammers fans what I can do. When Alan Pardew came in for me there was never going to be any other outcome."